I need to remember that I’m not in school. In French lessons it’s fine, it’s comfortable to speak with your teachers and your friends. You have space to think, make your sentences decent, understand what you’re saying, understand how it translates.
Then I’m dropped into such a busy, modern city and I sound ridiculous. It doesn’t help if my mum keeps telling me to ask this, ask that, in a cafe or during a phone conversation with the hotel reception. I can’t hear what they’re saying either! I know it’s good of her to encourage me to speak more, but it’s not easy on the first day and I hope she wasn’t thinking I could speak at a really advanced level… I’d need several months before that could happen with me.
A kind gentleman who had to put up with my sporadic conversation suggested to me to think in French, so I am trying to do that more now.
Most people are lovely, but there was one exception sitting beside us in the restaurant.
One woman, who made us feel like invalids.
We were happy and chatty – this is normal behaviour in a restaurant is it not? She kept sighing and sighing, wanting us to know how annoyed she was having to put up with our ‘din’, while she was trying to read in peace. I even expressed my sympathy to her in FRENCH and she jumped when I tapped her on the shoulder. Later we found out that she goes to the restaurant most nights to have quiet meal + reading time. I don’t understand though, surely she’d understand that she is living in a capital city? Also, who jumps in such a manner from a gentle tap on the shoulder? (I should stop being so selfish, by wanting people to be the way I’d prefer them to be…)
We saw a concert by Les Solistes Français in La Sainte Chapelle with a programme of concertos by Vivaldi and Bach. They are a small ensemble group, 4 violins, 1 viola, 1 ‘cello, 1 bass etc. It was pretty good and I enjoyed it, but why so uptight? And why so much vibrato? They played fantastically and enthusiastically together, but I felt irritated by the sound. It was too gritty for me. I can understand if you need to make articulation clearer in a boomy acoustic but why so much?
The fast narrow vibrato did not make me feel at ease. It was like someone was poking me in the ears. Why didn’t they just let the sound be heard on its own? I don’t want to be as pretentious as some of the people who were also at the concert hall,
“Oeuh… They wuh faaawbuluss, soew accomplisshed. Jaust ah-mazing.”
I just know that I don’t want to play Baroque music like that, ever.
It’s so lively and unfussy here in Paris. I’d love to live here for a year during my studies. It’d be difficult to survive if you weren’t quick enough and if you were fussy so I should do it while I’m able to accept things the way they are and while I am sane.
♥ Au revoir